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The Statement of Purpose (SOP) is an important part of the application you send to your prospective universities. Unlike your resume or grades, the SOP gives you a chance to highlight your personality in front of the admissions committee. However, if drafted incorrectly, it can affect the chances of admission into your dream institution. A well-written university-specific SOP will not only help you portray yourself as a promising student but also bring out your enthusiasm for studying at that particular university. So without any further ado, let’s get started!
What is an SOP?
A Statement of Purpose (SOP) is an essay that you need to include in your application when applying to colleges abroad. It can be anywhere between 500-1200 words depending on the university’s requirement. And it needs to highlight your intention behind and preparedness for pursuing the course.
An SOP is considered to be one of the most important documents in your application. Here’s why-
- It gives you a chance to bring out your personality, thereby increasing your chances of getting admission. For example, talking about what you find interesting about your field of study will show the admissions committee how strong your will to study is.
- You get to explain your mistakes. If you have low grades or a career gap, you can share the reason behind it through your SOP.
- An SOP helps your application stand out. Think about it. Universities receive thousands of applications each year, and so many of them are similar to each other. To avoid getting lost in the crowd, you need to mention something unique about yourself or your work in the SOP.
- It allows you to share your vision. You cannot talk about your future plans through your grades. But in an SOP, you can share your vision for the future of your career and talk about how the program will help you get there.
This is why it’s necessary to dedicate a significant amount of time to writing your SOP.
What to include in your SOP?
Your Statement of Purpose must follow a standard format. It should answer the following questions effectively-
- Why do you want to pursue this program?
- Do you have enough experience to study this course?
- What will you do with your learnings?
- Why do you want to study at that particular university?
To write an impressive SOP, you need to answer these questions in a way that brings out your personality. This is how you can go about writing your university-specific SOP-
- Introduce yourself. Give the admissions committee a window into your background. Use this paragraph to address the first question and hook your reader.
- Share your experience. Expand upon the first paragraph by talking about your academic and professional experiences. You can also share details of any co-curricular activities you participated in and any awards you may have won. You can divide this section into paragraphs based on the colleges and companies you mention.
- Talk about your goals. Use this paragraph to share your short and long-term goals. Don’t forget to mention how this course will help you achieve your career and personal aspirations.
- Address the university. While the three points mentioned above explain why you’re applying for the program and what you will do with the knowledge you acquire, they don’t help the university understand why you choose to study the program with them. Here are 5 tips on how you can nail this section of your SOP-
Tackling the university-specific paragraph
The university-specific paragraph in an SOP serves two main purposes. First, it helps the admissions officers understand your thought process behind applying to their program. And second, it lets them know how serious you are about studying at the university by showcasing that you have done your research.
Writing university-specific SOPs requires you to take the following steps-
- Research. Go to the program website and dig out everything there is to know about it. Credits, course duration, location, curriculum, faculty, funding opportunities, internships, career opportunities, application requirements, etc.
- Create a list of questions. As you research about the program, you will find yourself asking specific questions. “How much funding do students get on average?” “What research has the faculty been doing lately?” “Will I get a chance to network with industry professionals?” “What about job placements?” Create a list of all these questions.
- Talk to a university representative. Connect with a university representative and ask them these questions. This will not only give you content for the university-specific paragraph in your SOP but also let the college know how serious you are about applying.
- List out the positives. Through this process, you will have learned what you really like about the university and the program. List down all these points.
- Write it down. Now you have enough information to start writing your university-specific SOP. Mention how you came across the program, what you liked about it, and talk about your conversation with the university representative and what insights you gained from it.
Once done, get your SOP reviews by a friend or your counselor. And make sure to incorporate their suggestions in your essay before sending it to your dream university!
- The SOP is an important part of the application you send to your prospective universities. It can drastically affect the chances of admission to your dream institution.
- Your Statement of Purpose must answer these three questions –
- Why do you want to pursue this program at this university?
- How are you prepared to study this course?
- What are your future plans?
- Your SOP should talk about your background, your academic and professional experience, and your future plans. It should also address the university in a separate paragraph.
- The university-specific paragraph SOP talks about the features of the program you like and attempts to explain how you can contribute to the university. Follow the steps mentioned in the previous section to write the perfect university-specific para in your SOP.
So there you have it! A guide on how to write an impressive university-specific SOP!
If you have any doubts or questions about studying abroad, feel free to reach out to us or drop a comment. We’d be more than happy to help!
Liked this blog? Read: How to write a Statement of Purpose (SOP) | Sample SOPs inside!
1. How do you write a university-specific SOP?
Ans – There are four steps to writing a university-specific SOP-
- Create a list of questions
- Talk to a university representative
- List out the positives
- Write it down
2. Is an SOP different for every university?
Ans –Yes. If you don’t write unique university-specific paras for each institution within your SOP, it will drastically reduce your chances of getting admission.
3. Can I copy my friend’s SOP?
Ans –It is not advisable to copy anyone’s SOP. The admissions officers have plagiarism tools to see if you have copied someone’s content, and they will reject your application for it.